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Aviation Seniors Receive Positive Feedback at College to Careers Conference

Endeavor Air officers and EKU Aviation award recipients

Friday, April 3rd, Eastern’s Aviation program hosted the 2014 College to Careers Conference for EKU aviation seniors and Somerset Community College aircraft maintenance technology students and staff.

The event began shortly after 9:00 a.m. with Ralph Gibbs, director of aviation/chief flight instructor at EKU introducing the panelist from Delta Air Lines and Endeavor Air.

Afterwards, a presentation was given by panelist Logan Case, manager of pilot recruitment, and Duane Fields, tech ops recruiter, highlighting career opportunities and benefits at Endeavor Air.

Since 2013, Endeavor Air has become a subsidiary to Delta Air Lines, creating a “stepping stone to the big leagues” for its employees, which in turn creates many new openings within its ranks.

Another important benefit to Endeavor is the influence of Delta Air Lines on this regional subsidiary. Delta is widely successful because it is centered around the employee and “laser focused on cost”.

Following the presentation by Endeavor Air, Don Bornhorst, senior vice president for Delta Air Lines, addressed the seniors concerning the industry’s outlook. “It’s the perfect time to join the airline industry,” he reassured. Bornhorst then discussed how Delta is now hiring for the first time in 14 years due to the shortage of pilots and maintenance personnel, paving the way for years of potential opportunities for the future graduates.

Now that a major carrier like Delta is hiring, it creates a siphon from the regional carriers, allowing for new pilots and maintenance personnel to gain experience with Endeavor Air as many of their senior employees expand their horizons in new positions with Delta.

The floor then opened for students to address panelists with questions or concerns. This forum provided for further insight from experienced airline professionals to include in-depth explanations of training, expectations, work schedules, and potential growth within these two carriers.

To conclude the conference, seven graduates from Eastern’s aviation program were recognized and given their pro-flight certificates.

The program also selected Dustin Ratliff to receive the Joseph Schwendeman Outstanding Aviation Senior Award. Dr. Schwendeman for whom the award is named, was a former Naval Aviator and retired from Eastern Kentucky University where he held positions from chairman of the Geography/Geology Department, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and Vice President for Facilities Administration.

“I want to hire you guys,” summarized Bornhorst, leaving students with final assurances that they have made a wise investment in their education at EKU.

“This is the first time in over 25 years potential employers have come in to address concerns and with a stated purpose to recruit our aviation students,” commented Gibbs.

While EKU is home to many unique and renowned degree programs, its seems that the jury has weighed in, and EKU aviation has a bright future indeed.


  • Don Bornhorst, senior vice president Delta Air Lines
  • Logan Case, manager of pilot recruitment Endeavor Air
  • Steve Norton, chief pilot Endeavor Air
  • Duane Fields, tech ops recruiter Endeavor Air
  • Rich Meyers, maintenance base manager CVG


Joseph Schwendeman Outstanding Aviation Senior

1250-hour Power Certificates

  • Jeremy Criddle, Crestwood, Ky.
  • Anthony Vaught, Richmond, Ky.
  • Jessica Jenkins, Crestwood, Ky.
  • Marty Dye, Hi Hat, Ky.
  • Sarah Boots, Richmond, Ky.
  • Dustin Ratliff, Richmond, Ky.
  • Richard Quant, Erlanger, Ky.

Photo caption: (l-r) Captain Steve Norton Endeavor Air, Jeremy Criddle, Anthony Vaught, Jessica Jenkins, Marty Dye, Sarah Boots, Dustin Ratliff, Richard Quant, First Officer Logan Case Endeavor Air.

View the entire photo gallery...

- written by Andrew J. Stofleth, Student Assistant
EKU College of Business and Technology

Published on April 03, 2014

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